I took some of the boarders to see Little Mix last night at Newmarket racecourse. Have to admit it was a great Boarders trip however it was a tad stressful. To start with recently the risk assessment goes into a little more detail especially after the Ariana Grande concert. Things I had to include was : what to do if there was a explosion, or a situation that created panic ( which is my biggest concern) or if they found themselves in front of an armed police man. On most trips with 6th formers we allow them time to go off on their own, shopping in MK for example, but obviously this needs serious consideration at events like concerts. Here are some of the points I had to consider:
The general advice is to continue as planned, but:
· be especially vigilant (staff should be doing this anyway);
· keep an eye on the news for any changes; ( so had radio going while driving mini bus and checked the web site before I left.)
Further points to bear in mind are:
· assess the various additional needs (medical etc.) of the pupils and their ability to react and respond to dynamic situations; ( if you had a pupil who couldn’t run easily for example, how could you help with this?)
– remind pupils to remain vigilant and alert, reporting anything suspicious to trip leaders; ( think carefully about what you consider to be suspicious and make sure no prejudice would come into this conversation, and when should a pupil tell a police officer straight away instead of trying to find you? )
– brief participants what to do if separated from each other in the event of a security incident. This should include designating specified physical meeting points and contact telephone numbers for staff. Remember that mobile phones may not work in the immediate hours after an incident, so it is additionally important to designate a meeting location; consider providing all participants with a printed emergency contact card with the School/House’s landline telephone number on it;
· each leader should carry an attendee list with all participant details, including medical conditions (and, where necessary, parental contact details);
· carry water and snacks on visits in case of travel disruption and long delays, especially in warmer months or climates:
Police have given advice about Firearms and Weapons attacks in the UK. The ‘STAY SAFE’ principles tell you some simple actions to consider at an incident and the information that armed officers may need in the event of a weapons or firearm attack:
- Escape if you can Brief the pupils before and on site
- Consider the safest options
- Is there a safe route? RUN if not HIDE
- Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
- Insist others leave with you
- Leave belongings behind
- If you cannot RUN, HIDE
- Find cover from gunfire normally this is hard shooters are attracted by movement brief them to hide from view if they can see the gun person the gun person can see them
- If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you
- Cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal
- Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork / heavy reinforced walls
- Be aware of your exits give the pupils RV s on site to go to
- Try not to get trapped
- Be quiet, silence your phone and turn off vibrate again noise will attract the shooter
- Lock / barricade yourself in
- Move away from the door
Call 999 – What do the police need to know? If you cannot speak or make a noise listen to the instructions given to you by the call taker only do this if it is not going to attack unwanted attention
- Location – Where are the suspects?
- Direction – Where did you last see the suspects?
- Descriptions – Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.
- Further information – Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.
- Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so
ARMED POLICE RESPONSE
- Follow officers instructions
- Remain calm
- Can you move to a safer area?
- Avoid sudden movements that may be considered a threat
- Keep your hands in view
- Point guns at you
- Treat you firmly
- Question you
- Be unable to distinguish you from the attacker
- Officers will evacuate you when it is safe to do so don’t on any account question instructions
You must STAY SAFE
- What are your plans if there were an incident? brief the pupils before and once at location
- What are the local plans? e.g. personal emergency evacuation plan make sure you have plan and the pupils fully understand it
- Suspicious items – Guidance for the public
- Do not touch
- Try and identify an owner in the immediate area
- If you still think it’s suspicious, don’t feel embarrassed or think anybody else will report it
- Report it to a member of staff, security, or if they are not available dial 999 (do not use your mobile phone in the immediate vicinity)
- Move away to a safe distance – Even for a small item such as a briefcase move at least 100m away from the item starting from the centre and moving out
Remember – If you think it’s suspicious, SAY SOMETHING
I then had to let the pupils know of the concerns, but of course I had to do this in a none scary. This is a tricky balance, you want students to have fun and not to have any anxiety about being in large crowds but then you need them to be aware and be safe. We talked about looking our for each other and this was the key message. Communication was also important, having the duty mobile phone number in your phone and making sure that you check it every now and again. Safety of their own belongings in the bus and at the event was also considered. We arranged that we would have two meeting points just in case one was inaccessible and chose clear obvious points that could be seen a little distance away.
When we arrived we had a short queue and a token bag search. Children under 10 were offered a white wrist band although they had run out when I got there. We then spent a little time finding our way around the racecourse. As the start of the concert moved closer the crowd got larger and many of the students started to feel a little Claustrophobic. It was seated so you could feel the crowd pushing forward, trying to get the best view and to keep everyone together can be a challenge. However to my delight all my boarders all stuck together like glue, holding hands with each other ( including me). This human chain, communicated throughout the evening, checking that everyone was ok, not too tired and had a good view. This consideration and care for each other made me very proud of the sensible, polite but fun students that they are. At the end of the evening, everyone and everything was fine, as are almost 99% of the trips we take pupils on, however in the environment we live in now, we cannot be complacent.